Hedda Gabler - Teaching Unit

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Individual Learning Packet
Teaching Unit
Hedda Gabler
by Henrik Ibsen
Copyright © 2000 by Prestwick House Inc., P.O. Box 658, Clayton, DE 19938. 1-800-932-4593.
www.prestwickhouse.com Permission to copy this unit for classroom use is extended to purchaser for his or her
personal use. This material, in whole or part, may not be copied for resale. Revised March 2003.
ISBN 13: 978-1-60389-797-6
Reorder No. 201337
Hedda Gabler
Objectives
By the end of this unit, the student will be able to:
1.
identify each of the characters, the relationships between them, and what they want in
the play.
2.
write a character sketch of one of the characters.
3.
analyze the writing style of Ibsen and identify his use of realistic dialogue through
short, expressive words.
4.
give a clear synopsis of the play.
5.
identify and discuss the dramatic structure of the play.
6.
draw inferences about each of the characters.
7.
identify the major themes of the play.
8.
identify and discuss Ibsen’s use of symbols.
9.
explain why the play is titled Hedda Gabler, not “Hedda Tesman.”
10. define and cite examples of the following literary terms:
• Foreshadowing
• Symbol
• Irony
• Theme
• Cliché
2
Hedda Gabler
Questions for Essay and Discussion
1.
The characters in a play usually have very strong intentions or goals that they strive to
achieve in order to be fulfilled. What are the intentions of each of the major characters
in Hedda Gabler? Do they achieve these goals?
2.
A review of a London production of Hedda Gabler from over 100 years ago said,
“Hedda’s soul is a-crawl with the foulest passions of humanity.” Would you say that is
an accurate representation of Hedda? Why or why not?
3.
Hedda Gabler has been called the story of a woman who will not or cannot conform to
what her society considers normal for a woman. How does this compare with what
society considers “normal” for a woman of today? What has changed? What has
remained the same?
4.
At the top of Act I, Berta, Aunt Julia, and Tesman talk about Hedda before she arrives.
What do we understand about her before she even appears?
5.
Ibsen gives Tesman many vocal tics, like “um,” “hm,” and “eh.” What does this tell us
about the character of George Tesman?
6.
Ibsen has said that he likes to combine comedy and tragedy in the same play. What are
some funny moments in the tragedy of Hedda Gabler?
7.
Give examples of the forces of oppression at work in the play. Give examples of the
forces of freedom.
8.
Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something that the characters onstage
do not know. Discuss where dramatic irony occurs in the play and how effective it is
in building tension and contributing to the rising action.
9.
Why do you think that Ibsen called the play “Hedda Gabler” and not “Hedda Tesman”?
Does this choice of title explain anything about the character?
10. Define foreshadowing and give a few examples that foreshadow the tragic conclusion
of the play.
8
Hedda Gabler
Study Guide
Student Copy
ACT I
1.
How do Berta and Aunt Julia describe Hedda? What do their actions reveal about their
desires?
2.
What kind of picture do those reactions bring to mind about Hedda?
3.
In addition to touring the Alps, what did Tesman do on his trip?
4.
How long did the wedding trip last and where did they go? What can you infer from
some of George’s ambiguous and dry comments about the wedding?
5.
Who arranged for money for the carpet and furnishings while they were away? What
can you infer about Aunt Julia’s feelings for George.
6.
In Act I, when Aunt Julia asks Tesman if he has any “expectations,” what does she really want to know? What his response this tell you about Tesman?
S-1
ACT II
1.
When Judge Brack comes through the back entrance at the start of Act II, what does
Hedda do?
2.
Hedda refers to George as a “specialist.” What is her opinion of a person like that?
3.
What is Hedda’s opinion of love?
4.
What reason does Hedda give Judge Brack for marrying George Tesman?
5.
Hedda says, “…as you make your bed, so you must.” What is the literary term for
such an expression, and what does it mean?
6.
What does Hedda say their home smells of?
7.
What does Brack say Hedda needs?
8.
What does Hedda say is her reason for all of her manipulations and machinations?
S-4
ACT III
1.
2.
At the end of Act II, Lövborg says he will return for Mrs. Elvsted at 10 p.m. What time
do the men actually return?
How does Tesman react to the reading of Lövborg’s book?
3.
How does Tesman describe the party to Hedda?
4.
What does Tesman find after the party breaks up?
5.
What news does Tesman receive in the letter from Aunt Julia?
6.
How does Judge Brack describe the party?
7.
Who is Mademoiselle Diana? What does Brack think happened between Lövborg and
Diana?
8.
How do the police play a part in the evening?
S-7
ACT IV
1.
Why is Hedda dressed in black at the start of Act IV?
2.
What reason does Hedda give Tesman for burning Lövborg’s manuscript?
3.
How does Tesman react to this news?
4.
What does Hedda finally tell Tesman in Act IV?
5.
What does Judge Brack say has happened to Lövborg upon first entering in Act IV?
6.
What does Hedda say about Lövborg shooting himself? What are the others’ reactions.
7.
After Judge Brack’s news, what do Tesman and Mrs. Elvsted decide to dedicate their
lives to?
8.
After Tesman and Mrs. Elvsted leave the room, Judge Brack tells Hedda the truth about
Lövborg. What actually happened to him?
S-9
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